6 May 2010

Whanau Ora budget revealed

6:04 pm on 6 May 2010

The Prime Minister says the initial funding allocated to the new social services policy Whanau Ora may be less than anticipated, but that it's a good starting point.

The Government has announced the policy will have a budget of $134 million over the next four years.

The money will be used to administer, research and evaluate the new social service policy, which will have mentors or co-ordinators work with families to help them empower themselves.

John Key says on top of that, more funding will be needed for the actual contracts to be administered by Whanau Ora providers, and that is likely to represent a significant amount of money.

Mr Key says while Whanau Ora will be available to all families in need, it is likely that Maori families will use it more than any other ethnic group.

The minister responsible for Whanau Ora, Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia, says the aim will be to strengthen families' capabilities.

Mrs Turia says details such as how best to utilise the money, and how to get it as close as possible to the whanau, have not yet been finalised.

Expressions of interest from potential providers will be sought through June and July.

Funding criticised

The Green Party says the Government has failed to properly fund the Whanau Ora policy.

Co-leader Metiria Turei says the Government is funding Whanau Ora out of existing baselines instead of putting new money into it.

Ms Turei says that will put more pressure on the already stretched social service sector to do more with the same or less money.